Opening Bell 7.13.18

JPMorgan earnings; Activist investors; Woodchucks eating cars and more!
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JPMorgan beats 2Q expectations [Fox Business]

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s biggest bank by assets, topped second-quarter expectations thanks to a “healthy” U.S. consumer while the bank continued to benefit from the new tax law.

The company announced second-quarter earnings per share of $2.29 on managed revenue of $28.4 billion. Analysts expected profit per share of $2.22 on revenue of $27.36 billion.

May Seeks to Salvage Trump Trip After President’s Brexit Warning [Bloomberg]

Trump warned in a newspaper interview -- published just after she had entertained him at a black-tie dinner -- that her European Union divorce plan will likely end hopes of a U.K. trade deal with the U.S. He also said she had failed to take his advice and took a swipe at British immigration policy, which May was in charge of before becoming prime minister.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said in the interview in the Sun newspaper published Friday. The pound dropped.

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan sought to talk down the differences, insisting that the president’s visit was “most definitely” a success so far while rejecting his warning that May’s Brexit plan to keep close ties with the EU would torpedo a U.S. trade deal.

Justice Department to appeal approval of AT&T acquisition of Time Warner [Reuters]

AT&T was sued by the Justice Department on antitrust grounds, saying that the deal would harm consumers, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon last month approved the deal, allowing it to move forward following a lengthy trial. The merger, first announced in October 2016, was also opposed by President Donald Trump.

Leon ruled that the tie-up between AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, that the company was not surprised about the Justice Department’s decision to appeal.

“They have the right to appeal. Everyone has the right to appeal. We have a very fact-based thoughtful order. It will be evaluated on those grounds,” he said.

Activist Investors Turn Up Heat in Drive for Returns [WSJ]

Activists are launching campaigns at a record pace as the rise in passive investing pressures fund managers to find new ways to beat the market and letting the rabble-rousing investors into boardrooms becomes less taboo.

Activists spent $40 billion targeting 136 companies with market values of more than $500 million in the first half, according to a study released Thursday by Lazard. That’s the most since the investment bank started collecting the data in 2013, around when the current wave of activism began. Only 94 companies were the subject of new activist pushes by this time in 2017.

Deutsche Bank warns Netflix may miss second-quarter subscriber expectations [CNBC]

The firm told its clients Thursday the internet video streaming giant could miss Wall Street’s second-quarter subscriber expectations next week.

Netflix shares are the second best-performing member of the S&P 500 this year. It's up 115 percent year to date through Thursday versus the market’s 5 percent return.

“We see limited upside and even some downside to 2Q guidance/consensus,” analyst Bryan Kraft said in the report Thursday. “We don't see 2Q earnings as a positive catalyst for the stock; in fact, we see some near-term downside risk.”

A Family Of Woodchucks Ate Paul Ryan's Car [NPR]

The car was parked at his mother's house in his hometown in Wisconsin, and when she came back from her annual trip to Florida for the winter, it wouldn't start. As a top congressional leader Ryan has a security detail and hasn't been allowed to drive in three years.

"So I towed it into the dealer, they put it up, and they realized that a family of woodchucks lived in the underbody of my Suburban," Ryan said.

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